Exploration of hydrocarbon resources in the Commercial Arrangement Area, expeditious joint demarcation and survey of land boundary work and future ties in power connectivity between Sarawak and Brunei Darussalam were highlighted in a Joint Statement issued at the end of the 16th Malaysia-Brunei Darussalam Annual Leaders' Consultation yesterday.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam met Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in a four-eye meeting in Putrajaya.
Other areas touched included economic cooperation between Sabah and Brunei Darussalam in livestock, ICT and communication infrastructure, intensifying efforts in finalising other elements of the Exchange of Letters, Brunei's interest to invest in Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley, the redevelopment initiatives of Kg Bahru, KL and Brunei's continued participation in Malaysian SUKMA games.
The consultation took place in a constructive atmosphere, reflecting the deep rooted special relationship that exists between Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. Committed to strengthening this further, both leaders appraised the ongoing cooperation and explored new potential areas for an enhanced partnership that can mutually benefit the peoples of the two countries.
Both leaders discussed overall bilateral relations, in particular the progress of the implementation of the Exchange of Letters signed by the leaders of Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam on March 16, 2009 in Bandar Seri Begawan, and welcomed the significant achievements attained since the 15th Annual Leaders' Consultation held in Bandar Seri Begawan on September 12, 2011.
Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the continuing developments in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources in the Commercial Arrangement Area (CAA).
They noted the steadfast cooperation and intensified discussions between the national petroleum authorities of the two countries with regard to Brunei Darussalam's Blocks N and Q, and in downstream industries. They urged both sides to carry out the proposed collaboration as soon as possible. The leaders also encouraged the national petroleum authorities to look into ways of embarking on joint undertakings in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, and possibly in third countries.
Recalling their instruction at the 15th Annual Leaders' Consultation on the financial and operational modalities including the efficient development of straddling fields, the leaders welcomed the regular and ongoing discussion of the Unitisation Joint Working Group and looked forward to the formalisation of an appropriate arrangement on data exchange as soon as possible.
The leaders were pleased with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Process for the Joint Demarcation and Survey of the Land Boundary and its Terms of Reference on 19 March 2012 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and noted that this had facilitated the joint survey teams to start joint survey works to establish the Control Survey Network. In this context, they instructed the Joint Land Boundary Technical Committee to ensure that the work on the joint demarcation and survey of the land boundary be carried out expeditiously giving priority to the already identified areas.
The leaders expressed satisfaction with ongoing efforts to promote closer economic collaboration between Sarawak and Brunei in identified sectors including telecommunication, tourism, halal hub development, as well as agriculture. They looked forward to the signing of a memorandum of understanding on power connectivity between Sarawak and Brunei as well as mutual investments in power projects that will strengthen cooperation on energy security towards the realisation of the greater Asean Power Grid.
The leaders also expressed satisfaction with ongoing efforts to intensify economic cooperation between Sabah and Brunei, particularly the signing of the Heads of Terms Agreement relating to the Keningau Integrated Livestock Centre between the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) and Annam Corporation on June 16, 2012, and the Memorandum of Understanding relating to ICT Collaboration and Communication Infrastructure between the Government of Brunei Darussalam and the State Government of Sabah on July 10, 2012. The leaders were encouraged that the collaboration in ICT infrastructure would also contribute to enhancing the implementation of the BIMP-EAGA Rink.
Both leaders commended the Joint National Committee on the Implementation of the Exchange of Letters for the significant progress achieved thus far and urged the committee to intensify its efforts in finalising the other elements of the Exchange of Letters currently being deliberated as soon as possible.
They also encouraged the Joint National Committee to continue discussions in other matters such as fisheries cooperation that would enhance beneficial collaboration between the two countries.
Both welcomed the signing of the agreement between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Brunei Darussalam on Economic Cooperation on September 2, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur as an important umbrella instrument for comprehensive economic collaboration between the two countries. The leaders expressed hope that this would pave the way for an early finalisation of the proposed agreement on the financial services sector as well as more extensive trade and investment between the two countries.
In addition to welcoming Brunei's participation in Malaysia's economic corridors in Sabah, Sarawak, Iskandar Malaysia, and the East Coast Economic Region, the Malaysian Prime Minister welcomed Brunei's interest to invest in the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley initiatives as well as in the redevelopment initiatives of Kampong Bharu, Kuala Lumpur. In this regard, both leaders urged the relevant agencies to look into the potential opportunities offered by the initiatives.
The Malaysian Prime Minister very much appreciated the interest from His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in the methodology behind Malaysia's Government and Economic Transformation Programmes (GTP and ETP). His Majesty expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister for the participation of Malaysian companies in projects under the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) and the Brunei Industrial Development Authority (BINA) and encouraged their involvement in other development projects.
Both leaders also welcomed ongoing efforts aimed at enhancing connectivity and cooperation in the field of transportation that could further improve communication and movement of people as well as goods between the two countries. In this regard, they were pleased with the progress of the construction of the bridge spanning the Pandaruan River, and looked forward to its timely completion and officiating its opening by the next Annual Leaders' Consultation in 2013.
Both leaders were also encouraged by ongoing initiatives and measures in promoting better access for people-to-people interaction and travel between the two countries. These included the implementation of tourism promotional activities, Frequent Travellers Facility (FTF), ferry services between the Malaysian Federal Territory of Labuan and Muara in Brunei Darussalam, and the designation of MASWings and Royal Brunei Airlines for air services between Sabah, Sarawak, and Bandar Seri Begawan.
Both leaders expressed pleasure with the ongoing cooperation between the defence forces of the two countries in promoting regional peace and stability. They commended the collaboration between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces under the ambit of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao, the Philippines. They looked forward to the formalisation of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Embedment of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Element in the Malaysian Contingent to the UNIFIL soon.
Both acknowledged the importance of greater cooperation in the field of education to promote excellence and best practices in education and learning, as well as friendship and understanding between the peoples of the two countries. They encouraged education institutions in both countries to further promote exchange and internationalisation of programmes and emphasised the need for the continued implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Higher Education which was signed in 2010, as well as areas already agreed during the First Joint Working Group Meeting on Higher Education on January 13, 2012.
The Malaysian Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the continued and consistent participation of Brunei Darussalam in Sukan Malaysia (SUKMA) since 1996. Given the importance of closer friendship and understanding between the peoples of both countries through youth and sports activities, the leaders emphasised the need for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Youth and Sports which was signed in 2011.
The leaders expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the 6th Bilateral Ministers of Health Meeting on June 26, 2012 in Bandar Seri Begawan. Both were pleased with the existing cooperation through the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Health Cooperation of November 23, 2006 which included cross-border transfer of patients, human resource development in health, communicable disease surveillance and control, and non-communicable disease prevention and control, and looked forward to the further enhancement of cooperation in health, including health tourism and the application of ICT in the health sectors of both countries.
Both expressed happiness on the existing collaboration in media and information and valued the programmes and activities organised by the relevant authorities of both countries in enhancing mutual goodwill and understanding between the peoples of Malaysia and Brunei.
They considered the cooperation in the field of ICT as an effective means to promote collaboration in research and development activities between creative industries from Malaysia and Brunei. The leaders urged the relevant authorities in both countries to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding on Information and Communication Technology before the next Annual Leaders' Consultation in 2013.
They also urged the relevant agencies of both countries to continue discussions in facilitating cross-border trade and ensuring the smooth flow of goods and services. In this regard, both leaders also instructed them to resolve outstanding issues as soon as possible.
In the spirit of achieving all-encompassing bilateral cooperation, the leaders urged the relevant authorities of both countries to work towards finalising the documents relating to shipping; agriculture; taxation; and cooperative development as soon as possible.
They acknowledged the importance of the exchange of visits between peoples of the two countries at all levels, including members of various branches of government, as well as students, youth and private sector in order to expand and intensify bilateral cooperation towards a comprehensive partnership. The leaders also supported the various exchange programmes held regularly between the public sectors of both countries as a mechanism to share views and experiences in improving the government delivery system in the interest of the peoples of both countries.
They also discussed the proposal for the establishment of the World Zakat Organisation (WZO) to uphold zakat as the third pillar of Islam and religious devotion for the benefit of economic and social development of the Ummah. In this context, the Malaysian Prime Minister looked forward to Brunei Darussalam becoming a founding member of the organisation.
Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening Asean and the establishment of the Asean Community by 2015. The leaders looked forward to the convening of the 21st Asean Summit and related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2012 and expressed their best wishes to the current Chairman of Asean. His Majesty briefed the Malaysian Prime Minister on Brunei Darussalam's Chairmanship of Asean in 2013. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to express his best wishes and utmost support to His Majesty in view of Brunei assuming the Chairmanship.
Both exchanged views on the developments in the South China Sea and welcomed Asean's Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea issued by Asean Foreign Ministers on July 23, 2012. The leaders also agreed that issues relating to the South China Sea should be addressed through peaceful means, including dialogue and consultations amongst the countries concerned, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, as well as the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Both welcomed positive developments in Myanmar over the past year and also exchanged views concerning the situation in Rakhine, Myanmar. The leaders also welcomed the Statement of Asean Foreign Ministers on the recent developments in the Rakhine State, Myanmar, issued on August 17, 2012.
They expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of their meeting and looked forward to the implementation of the decisions reached for a much strengthened bilateral relationship and cooperation between Malaysia and Brunei. His Majesty and the Prime Minister of Malaysia conveyed their warmest greetings to the peoples of both countries on the occasion of Hari Raya Aidilfitri 1433 Hijrah. Both agreed that the 17th Annual Leaders' Consultation will take place in Brunei Darussalam in 2013.
- Borneo Bulletin
(5 September 2012)